Mar 29, 2008

Making a Blue or Gold Star Service Banner

After writing about Rod Raubeson, the former Marine who taught himself to sew in order to make Blue Star and Gold Star Service Banners, I decided to make one, myself.

I was able to locate directions and a pattern for both the center star and the border measurements from The Quilter's Cache at: Armed Services Flag with alternate directions available from Blue Star Banner If a quilt is desired, directions and a pattern are available from the Military Mom's website at: Blue Star Banner Quilt

It is very important to understand that only families with actively serving members of the Armed Forces are to hang up an armed services banner such as this one. Anyone can make one or buy one, but only families in active and armed military service are to actually hang one on display in a front window.

The concept of a service banner is both licensed and regulated. They are meant to honor and show respect for the families whose fathers, wives, sons and daughters are away and serving during times of armed conflict. Today, Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families in all branches of the Armed Services, including the National Guard and the Reserves.

1.To Make a Blue or Gold Star Service Banner you need basic sewing supplies and fabrics of red ( for (4) 2 1/2" strips), white ( for a 9" x 14" center panel) and blue ( for a star that is about 7" x 7") I chose to make mine a quilted banner, so I also used a thin batting.

2. The 2 1/2" red borders are attached to both of the sides and then both the upper and lower edges. Trim evenly to size. By using a machined zigzag stitch or turning under and hand sewing, the star is then appliqued to the background (white) fabric and through the batting.

3. Right sides together, seam front and back together, leaving a small side opening for turning right sides out.

4. A narrow 'quilting rod' sleeve can either be hand or machine sewn on the backing. I show it here with a cord indicating its location. Fold it under to the back and slip stitch down for the final project.

5. I also added free-motion or meander quilting stitches throughout the center panel's surface to create a decorative effect and emphasis the quilted banner aspect.

6. To 'hang', insert a wooden dowel or curtain rod through the quilt sleeve unit in the back and hang with decorative cording, as desired.

As an alternative hanging method, you can use two narrow hanging loops and insert the rod through them. Make them with two pieces of 2 1/2" strips stitched down or seamed right sides together. Iron flat, and insert between sandwiched layers while stitching top seam in Step #2.

To Make a Gold Star Banner:
Substitute a gold star for the blue one. This signifies that this family has lost a family member in the armed services while on active duty.

Lest We Forget:
For those who cannot sew, but have family members in the military and wish to display a banner in their window, banners can be purchased at the American Legion website and and paper banners are also available for download at my previous post: Blue and Gold Star Service Banners (


Patti said...

Thank you so much for these instructions! After seeing the ABC News special regarding the gentlemen who has made it his mission to make Blue Star Banners for family members, I have been searching the internet for instructions on how to make one for my daughter; she is here at home, currently living with us, while our son-in-law serves his second deployment in Iraq. Bless you. Patti (

Anonymous said...

I am a blue star Mother, my son is serving in Tikrit right now. This is his fourth trip. I fly one of the nylon flags given to me by the VFW in my window. I have not made my own yet, I think I am afraid of becoming a gold star Mother. Thank you so much for this post.

Anonymous said...

how do I get dimensions, etc for 3 stars - I have three children serving.

Anonymous said...

im sorry I do not know how to make one with three stars.... but i found a website you can order one from....

I hope that helps!!!

Anonymous said...

hope you can see all of the link this time..... :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this, my son left on friday 7/9/10 for a 14 month deployment to Afganistan, and it's my desire to join the blue star mothers organazation. This organization is honoring approx. 20 gold star mothers. I would like to make each a memorial banner to honor their loved ones. Any input if this seems inappropriate would be appreciated. This has been a painful 2 days, but the thought of doing this project has given me a sense of comfort. I have my sons tomorrows to still look forward to with hope and faith, where these mothers have only the yesterdays to look upon.

Quilting Journey said...

Blessings to you and to your son...and to all mothers and fathers and sons who serve our or abroad. I think this is a truly love plan and I know it will absolutely mean the world to a lot of families. God bless!

RMEmom said...

I am a bluestar mother. My son left Jan. 16 2011 for Afghanistan. This is his first deployment. It has been hard but seeing the banner from the American Legion helps to comfort me and my family. I am happy to find this pattern as I would love to quilt some for family members. Thank you to everybody for all of their support for the sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters that have selfishly committed to protecting our freedom. God Bless the 322nd Engineers

Anonymous said...

I am a Gold Star Mother.
Please do not be afraid to make and present a Gold Star Banner to a grieving Mother. I have received ones from our local VFW and American Legion. Neither is handmade.
When someone presents something to me, I feel like my son has not been forgotten. And if I receive something that has been handmade, I know that it was made with love and I will treasure it always.

Anonymous said...

I remember my mother hanging one in our window,it only had 1 star but there were 5 boys who served. I know my mother did alot of praying for their safety. Yes,they all came home safely. I had 1 son serve in Air Force for 25 years. I am proud of all our servie people.

Melzie said...

Dear Gold Star Mother,
Thank you so much for your son's service and sacrifice. My son leaves in August for basic training for the Army. I know my praying without ceasing will then be kicked into high gear. This day is all about your son and the many other's who gave all they had for all of us.
xoxo, melzie

Carol W. said...

All 3 stars are the same dimension. The first star is centered on the white area. The second and third stars are placed evenly between the first star and the end of the white area. Each banner can have up to five stars in which case they would be evenly space in the white area.